Woolga Choi – The Play at Crossing Art

playful whimsical painting
Woolga Choi - 'White Series New Freedom 010'

This is one of those art exhibitions that will elicit the comment, “My kid could have done that,” and yes, in actuality, lots of children have done something like that. These paintings by Woolga Choi purposely mimic the crayon drawings of school children. The question is, “why?” Why buy expensive oil paints, use good canvases, and put in so much time and effort to create something that a child could do?

One of the answers is that a child isn’t likely to use expensive oil paints on good canvases and put in so much time and effort. Sure, a child’s parent could provide them all the material, and the child could paint something like this, but when you look at it, you would think that it’s just a child doing a child’s thing, so no one would ever think of hanging it in a gallery.

We would never see work like this on a large scale, using archival material, displayed in a well lit space free of distractions if some grown up person didn’t paint it. It’s lucky for us, and everyone who delighted in seeing this exhibition, that some grown up did paint it. Seeing Woolga Choi’s paintings is like watching a movie in a theater versus watching it on an old television set. The experience of fun childhood playfulness is magnified a hundred times.